2019 Weekend Away to the Holy Island 22nd June
I have received two reports for this event I am publishing both one is by our chairman, an entrant’s perspective and one by Mike the organiser, enjoy both reads -ED
Dave Simpsons introduction
The first club weekender for several years took to the roads on Saturday 22nd June. After a lousy week of rain and dull days lo and behold the day dawned sunny and warm which set the scene for the whole weekend. So, the group of 13 crews gathered in fine form and after instruction from well organised Mike helped admirably by Jackie off we went in staggered formation. It was not long before we departed the main roads and headed for the hills and every windy, country, potholed road in Northumberland. A grand tour of north Northumberland ensued which was a great change from our local roads that we all know, it certainly kept the navigator’s awake as one didn’t want to go adrift in unfamiliar country, also several landmarks to spot along the way to complete Mikes quiz. Around we went trying hard not to damage the cars on ever growing potholes some which would have swallowed an MG it seemed at one time that we were going around in circles but always heading north east towards Rothbury where we had a welcome coffee stop and caught up some of the first starters. Upwards and onwards more narrow lanes until arriving at the causeway on to Lindisfarne well in advance of the cut off time as we didn’t relish the tide coming in, MG’s don’t take kindly to seawater not being designed to float.
Everyone had arrived on time unscathed including Bills Moggy which had a minor hiccup along the way but thanks to timely production of Radweld from Ian’s boot it saved the day. Only dedicated classic fans carry Radweld! Hotels sorted out and a quick reviver in the bar we all gathered for dinner and a very jolly evening ensued.
Sunday morning again a lovely roof off day every one drove towards the castle for pictures which involved much direction from our chief organiser to get the best position with the castle in the background, unfortunately we weren’t allowed on to the castle carpark so we bunged up the approach road for a while and then discreetly withdrew to await the tide to let us off the island without getting our feet wet.
The afternoon run back to Hexham involved more very narrow lanes and a glorious run across the Cheviot Hills down through Kielder and into Hexham for a welcome dinner and then home. An excellent weekend, many laughs and interesting driving to say the least. Many thanks go to the organisers, Mike and Jackie for great instructions and organisation and ordering the great weather.
Mike Cowan’s Report
Now it cannot be argued that this summer has been the total opposite to last. When the summer solstice came around and the start of YDCCC weekend in Northumberland. The question on everyone’s lips was” is it going to be tops on or topless” it was not even worth betting on.
What was all the worry about. As we left home the sun came out and except for short rests it stayed out all weekend. From the moment Jackie and I turned the corner and pulled up outside the Beaumont hotel in Hexham it was clear not only was it going to be a topless weekend, but fun was to be the buzz word.
With the cars draped over the front of the hotel and the pavement full of YDCCC members soaking up the sunshine sipping something refreshing it resembled the front of an Amalfi coast restaurant in August. The atmosphere was fantastic and the stories got longer as the night played out.
The biggest unknown was which car belonged to which member. In the end we had 8 MGs 2 MX5s an E type Jag a 1953 Morris Minor and a Lexus. Well there is always one let down.
The Morris Minor driven by Bill Burton has a wonderful history but this weekend it started a new chapter. Back in1953 it belonged to family members of Bill who lived in the Hexham area. Bill got in touch and arranged to meet them at the hotel for a meal and unbeknown to them the Moggie was sat outside the hotel. When Bill’s cousin arrived she saw the car and recognized the number plate saying “that’s my dad’s old car” . She had not seen the car in 50 years. Amazing. Of course, the car is now in mint condition and it was a pleasure to see it powering along the lanes of Northumberland. More from “Moggie” later.
Word had got around and for our evening meal we were put in a room to ourselves! Can’t think why.
For the drive up to Hexham we offered a chance to limber up and most took it. A small run off the A68 through Slayley and into Hexham with a ford to pass through. Little did they know it was a big taste of what was to come. Saturday and we woke to find blue sky and beautiful sunshine. After a hearty breakfast there was just time to take the hoods down, pack the cars up and head off to the start at Brockbushes farm shop just outside Corbridge. The ones who were joining us here were looking + bit brighter than most. Can’t think why. Time for a quick coffee then as 10am approached the final car arrived and guess what it was the Moggie. Time for the navigators to get their instructions all 6 pages of them oh and not forgetting the two page quiz for the road. Yes, the navigators were going to be busy helping to negotiate the 120 miles with 71 instructions.
The cars were to set off at two minute intervals and a draw was made to see who was first off. You must have guessed by now. It was the Moggie.
As the last car disappeared into the tunnel to exit the farm shop and into the bright and welcome Northumberland sunshine Jackie and I set off for the first check point. We wanted to get photos of the cars going through a ford. Well we were spoilt for choice as the run included no less than six (6) fords!!
As we passed through Corbridge we saw one of the cars facing the wrong way on a one way street with another telling them that they were going the wrong way. Ahh the fun had really started.
Country houses, stately homes, castles, historic bridges and the open road through fantastic scenery for 120 miles all to be done before the 5pm deadline on the Holy Island Causeway.
Now can we get ahead of the lead car, yes, the Moggie, before they reach ford number 3 just south of Rothbury. A quick blast up the main road and on to the route should do it. We guessed that we had a 20 minute lead so perfect. Ten minutes later. Jackie said, “is that a Moggie in front”. “Yes” I replied. How the heck had that happened. We managed to pass Bill and Mave and make it to the ford in time to take the aforementioned photos. The Moggie passed and we waited and waited then through the trees came the roar of the MX5 of Jim Clark. As he passed, he paused and asked is there anyone in front. We told him and he said I can’t catch him. Should have had an MG came the reply.
We kept jumping forward to get as many photos of the trip as poss. Our last stop was the chain bridge at Horncliffe situated right on the border with Scotland. A spectacular looking bridge perfect for photos. The first car through brought the bad news that a car had a problem. It was the Moggie. The radiator had sprung a leak but thanks to a drop of Radweld from Ian and 5 litres of water she was up and running. That was one of nine lives for the Moggie.
Jackie and I headed for a quick pit stop in Berwick and then down to the causeway and on to Holy Island. As the last of the cars made it over before the deadline it was time for a rest before dinner which was to be in the Ship inn. They have a room which fits 27 and as there was 26 of us, we found ourselves once again in + room of our own. Before that I got + call from the ship inn asking if I knew where Kevin and Jim were booked in to. It’s at moments like this that the temptation to hit the off button is all too great. That sorted time for that rest. Ten mins later a text from the aforementioned “what time is dinner” . It was all too much so we left the phone in the room and headed out for a walk.
Holy Island is, as one member put it, very inspirational. Writers and artists in abundance have found inspiration on Lindisfarne. The peace and tranquillity is very relaxing.
Just a note on the day’s casualty “the Moggie” made it to Holy Island and only needed a cap full of water to top the radiator up. Amazing.
Seven o’clock and time for dinner. The talk was all a0bout how you find 6 fords. That was easy it was leaving the other three out of the run that was hard. The trail had everyone talking and thankfully it was all good except for the potholes. To be fair the heavy rain of early summer has not helped. Now who did what on the quiz for the road. A bit of fun with pictures of places to find and questions on Northumberland to answer. It was just that a bit of fun. The after dinner quiz went well with everyone asking a question. Again a bit of fun. With many tired drivers and navigators in the room and the prospect of another 120 miles tomorrow and goodness knows how many fords it was time for bed.
Sunday dawned a little cloudy and cooler. Oh no would it be tops on or topless? The plan today was to have breakfast and then jump in the cars and head towards the castle for an iconic photo opportunity before the causeway opened at 10am. It started well but deteriorated into a game of musical cars!
Once settled the cars sparkled as the sun poked a hole in the clouds. It was getting warmer and it was now topless Sunday.
Coming on to the island before 5 on Saturday was planned so we could have the causeway as dry as it can be so as to avoid saltwater getting on the cars and today was no different. We were due off at 12noon giving us 2 hours after the causeway reopened. Just enough time for the road to dry out. A clear run and time to put the foot down as today was a driving day. Just one ford and some glorious roads matched only by the weather.
We were running two cars short today as Mike & Joan in the Jag were staying two nights on Holy Island and sadly, Bill and Mave in the Moggie were now going to meet up with his best man from 40 years ago who now lives in Seahouses. Yet more history.
We made it to the ford just in time for the first four cars through and as we were in Scotland it was apt that Neil and Heather in their MG TF were first through closely followed by Tony and Sheila in the MGB then it was the naughty boys’ duo of Jim Clark in the MX5 and Kev in the Lexus. Now Jim was on dodgy ground after splashing Jackie on Saturday but today as he ploughed through the only ford he started to slide and Jackie, taking a photo, took the spray from Jim’s car. Janet was having words all the way back to Hexham where Jim was humble in his apology to Jackie. A true gentleman. After all cars passed it was time for Midge to have a drive. From deep in Scotland down the side of Kielder and on to Hexham. A meal was booked for 4.30 for those that wanted to eat before heading back down to Yorkshire. It was a room full of very tired bodies but as our chairman said in his closing speech we came to drive and drive we did. If I had to pick a car of the weekend you will not be surprised. The Moggie but to me all the cars are champions and as this weekend proves we have a wonderful club so to everyone who plays a part in the running of YDCCC take a bow.
Here’s to Scotland NC500
Anyone who has not signed up for next year and wants to go please get in touch we still have plenty of places available.
PS I had an email 5 minutes after we got back it was from Bill letting us know he had got back with no probs and the Moggie ..........she was sleeping.